BY: Mayor Kathy Ehley
A recent survey of residents shows you love Tosa as much as I do. The resident survey asked about the level of satisfaction with city services, the value of Wauwatosa as a place to live and other quality of life indicators.
Our results were overwhelmingly positive with benchmarks against Midwestern and national averages. For example, 97% of residents said Tosa is a great place to live compared to a Midwest average of 76%. Satisfaction with city services, including Fire and EMS services (92%) and trash collection services (93%) rank 20-40% higher than national averages. Another highlight indicated areas the City needed to invest more, such as how well the city plans and manages redevelopment, overall flow of traffic and congestion management, and condition of major city streets.
To read results and see how we compare to the Midwest and the nation, please go to our city website page, Results of the Resident Survey or https://www.wauwatosa.net/Home/Components/News/News/1748/17
US Census 2020
You can help shape Tosa’s future by participating in the upcoming 2020 Census. It’s important! Counting our population every 10 years is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. This matters for Wauwatosa because the Census help determines how federal funding flows into Wisconsin and Wauwatosa for health clinics, fire departments, school, roads and highways and determines how many seats in Congress we get.
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive a letter inviting participation in the 2020 Census. For the first time, you have the option to respond online to the simple 10 questions survey. You can also respond by phone or by mail. I challenge every resident in Tosa to take action on April 1, 2020. Complete your survey and be counted. Read more about the 2020 Census and see a sample questionnaire on our city’s website at Census, https://www.wauwatosa.net/discover-tosa/about-wauwatosa/census.
Our financial strength comes from a well-managed and balanced budget and our Aaa Bond Rating. Moody’s Investor Services has given Tosa the highest bond rating, ranking the City of Wauwatosa with the strongest creditworthiness compared to other U.S. borrowers. Our rating is based on our large and mixed residential and commercial tax base and strong financial profile.
The City’s operating and capital budgets for 2020 were passed in November by the Common Council. Our operating budget represents day-to-day expenses and human resources. The capital budget includes infrastructure, city property and long-term equipment. The challenge for the City this year was to balance the budget gap while maintaining a high level of service to residents (per survey results).
Each department contributed to closing the gap by operating efficiently and finding ways to save resources. Each year, it is getting harder and harder to close this budget gap. The City goes through an extensive process to pass a budget including seven meetings open to the public. You can view the videos of these meetings in the Meeting Portal or learn more at the city website, Follow The Budget Discussions at https://www.wauwatosa.net/Home/Components/News/News/1713/17
The city’s budget is one of multiple factors that impact the tax rate on your property. Others are the budgeted property tax levy for the Schools, Tech College, Sewer District and County and credits funded by the State of Wisconsin. Watch for your tax bill in early December with details for all these taxing entities.
One of the major projects proposed for 2020 is the repaving of Wauwatosa Avenue from Garfield Avenue to Milwaukee Avenue and replace aging and smaller utilities (sewer/water pipes) with larger ones. Watch for more details as this will significantly affect traffic flow next year.
Earlier this month, I announced I will not be running in April 2020 for a third term as Mayor of this incredible community that I have called home for the last 50 years.
As you can imagine, this has not been an easy decision. I am proud and honored to have served as Wauwatosa Mayor since 2012 – one of our greatest periods of growth and community improvements.
During this time we have done numerous plans to provide guidance for the future, increased quality of life with investments in parks, gathering spaces and public health, improved communications, innovated services, and increased resident involvement in our municipal boards and committees. We have built collaborative working relationships with the medical complex, school district and surrounding communities. We have lived through major road and highway reconstruction. With all of this we have honored the past, planned and built for the future.
I have loved my involvement within our community getting to know many of our residents and business leaders and in forging relationships on a county, regional, state and national level that benefit Wauwatosa and our region.
It is my nature to always look at what needs to be done, but this decision process has pushed me to reflect on all that has been accomplished. Two quotes have influenced my life: Girl Scout’s “leave a place better than you found it” and Harry Truman’s “it is amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.” As I reflect on my two terms as Mayor and what has been accomplished, I take pride in staying consistent to those beliefs.
It is extraordinary to work with so many passionate, smart individuals. A strong community is made up of dedicated professional staff and elected officials and residents who are passionate and involved. Wauwatosa has all of these. Thank you for the role you play in creating this amazing community. It is an honor to be Mayor and to work with all of you.
Until the end of my term in April, it is business as usual.